A Craigavon councillor has slammed what he perceives as double standards after plans for a housing development in Gosford Forest Park were refused on Wednesday evening.
The SDLP’s Thomas Larkham says the result for Gosford – which he welcomed – flies in the face of the residents of Craigavon with plans to build a multi-million pound college in the City Park continuing apace.
“So the jury has reached its verdict folks, ABC Council don’t care about the people of Craigavon, all they want is your rates,” he said in response to the Gosford verdict.
“Armagh is worthy of the political opposition to building on one of its parks…however, when it comes to a planning application to build on a park in Craigavon – work away despite public opposition, protests and petitions.
Councillor Larkham described it as a “total insult to the people of Craigavon and further afield”, including himself who has, and continues to oppose, the location of the Southern Regional College campus in the park.
He said a college would be a “welcome development and boost for the entire area” but not in the park where it has been granted permission to build.
Councillor Larkham noted the wording of comments made in opposition to the Gosford development in that it ‘would create a dangerous precedent’.
“The precedent was already set for applications like this the minute SRC got the green light to build in Craigavon City Park,” he said.
“The message then was loud and clear for developers that this Council are in the business of selling off chunks of lands within our parks for development, however, it’s become clearer as this application in Armagh has been refused, that every park in the borough is off limits except Craigavon City Park.
“A total shame and disgrace and I call on all those councillors who want to rightly protect Gosford in Armagh to do likewise in Craigavon and stand with the people.”